Boris Johnson will talk up £9.7bn in foreign investment deals the UK has attracted this year as he opens the three-day Global Investment Summit tomorrow.
Johnson will open the summit, before having a “fireside chat” with Microsoft founder Bill Gates as the government continues its bid to increase business investment post-Brexit.
However, the Prime Minister’s grand announcement of nearly £10bn of “new investment” deals are not as fresh as they first appear.
The largest deal Johnson highlights is a £6bn investment by Spanish electricity company Iberdola to build windfarms in East Anglia.
However, the firm already publicly confirmed this spending in February as they awarded a contract to Siemens to help build the wind turbines.
A £500m investment by Turkey-based Eren Paper into North Wales has also already been announced by the company.
Other deals highlighted by Johnson include a £1.5bn investment by US real estate investment trust Prologis to transition to net-zero, a £115m investment by US beer giant Budweiser to upgrade its South Wales brewery and a £220m investment by peer-to-peer lending firm Zopa to grow it sustainable banking operation.
“The world’s top investors have seen the massive potential in the UK for growth and innovation in the industries of the future,” Johnson said.
Labour shadow international trade secretary Emily Thornberry said: “These pledges – many of them re-announced and most of them years from delivery – amount to a fraction of the £28bn a year in investment that Labour has promised, and which is what we need to match the scale of the task to decarbonise our economy and reach net zero.”
Foreign direct investment into the UK was constrained for years after the 2016 Brexit vote as overseas firms steered away from the domestic political uncertainty that gripped the country.
However, this has begun to abate and figures from the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development still put the UK as one of the world’s leading destinations for foreign direct investment.
Total inward foreign investment stock increased from $2.1 trillion in 2019 to $2.2 trillion in 2020.
The Department for International Trade (DIT) will launch an “Investment Atlas” that will “identify and execute high priority investment opportunities” during the summit.
International trade secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan said: “The UK is the best investment destination in the world and our Investment Atlas will help to drive more investment into green industries across the UK, and make it easier for businesses to make decisions on where and what to invest in.”
Around 200 global chief executives and international investors are expected to attend the London summit this week, with the likes of Blackstone founder Larry Fink and JPMorgan Chase chief executive Jamie Dimon in attendance.
Johnson will host Gates, Dimon and 18 other powerful executives at a Downing Street dinner during the summit.